3o month ban for Munce
Jockey Chris Munce will appear before the Racing NSW licensing committee on Wednesday in the hope of being cleared to return to riding in Australia despite being hit with a 30-month disqualification by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) over the tips-for-bets scandal.
Munce appeared via video link at Monday’s HKJC reconvened inquiry at Racing NSW headquarters in Sydney where the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey confirmed a plea of guilty to all 36 breaches of the HKJC rules of racing.
The disqualification has been back-dated to March 1, 2007 and Munce will be eligible to return to racing on September 1.
The hoop was released from Sydney’s Silverwater Prison in late October after serving 20 months of a 30-month sentence handed down by a Hong Kong court.
Munce issued a statement through a media manager and said he was disappointed with the outcome of the inquiry.
“I am shocked and dismayed by the decision,” Munce said.
“I have at all times co-operated with stewards, in stark contrast to others who have fled Hong Kong and resumed riding in other parts of the world.
“I acknowledge my beach of Hong Kong racing rules but I have more than paid the price.”
Munce has 24 hours to appeal the severity of the penalty and said he was “keeping his options open”.
Last month, he was granted a licence to ride in NSW and has been riding in barrier trials and trackwork in preparation for a full-time return to the saddle.
But Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said Munce had been stood down following Monday’s decision.
Racing NSW has issued a notice to Munce to show cause why it should not adopt the penalties issued by Hong Kong stewards.
“We have given him a show cause notice to appear before the licensing committee on Wednesday and they will make a decision on whether he retains his licence or has it withdrawn,” V’landys said.
The jockey was arrested by Hong Kong anti-corruption officials in July, 2006 with $HK250,000 (about $A40,000) in his jeans pocket along with a piece of paper with notations allegedly relating to bets on races in which he had tipped.
After being jailed in Hong Kong in March last year, Munce was transferred to Silverwater the following September.
In Australia, Munce’s offences would have been dealt with by racing authorities – not the judicial system.
By Russell Jackson